Today, Jan. 17, 2013, John Lichfield and Nigel Morris have reported for The Independent,
Algeria crisis: Siege at Saharan gas plant ends in bloodbath. When Algerian forces stormed a BP gas field in the Sahara today at least six Western hostages were killed. And eight or more Islamist militants were reported to have been killed when Algerian helicopters, and according to one account, warplanes, launched attacks close to the complex seized by an Islamist militant group.
One British national was killed in this initial phase of the siege, and the UK government
has confirmed that several more Britons were among those still being held at the complex
which is close to the Libyan border. Details of this operation, which has been conducted without the approval of Western governments, have been sketchy, but David Cameron has admitted that Britain “should be prepared for the possibility of further... very difficult news”. On the brighter side of the rescue operation, as many as 25 foreign captives and 600 Algerians were reported to have been freed, or to have escaped, from their captors as the assault began this morning.
The Huffington Post has also reported on the Algerian hostage crisis, Algeria Hostages Killed Along With Militants By Army Air Strikes, Reports Say. The Associated Press has reported that as many as 35 hostages and 15 of their captors have been killed during an air raid by the Algerian military. Katibat Moulathamine, or "Battalion of Blood," is the militant group that has claimed responsibility for the mass kidnapping. Seven Americans were among the hostages and their fate at this time is uncertain.